Puritans & the Founding of New England Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is designed to help teachers teach their students about the Puritans and the New England colonies. Students will compare the lifestyle of the Pilgrims to the Puritans and learn about the expansion of the colonies.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the life of the Puritans and the Pilgrims
  • Identify and describe the contributions of some important figures in the New England colonies
  • Use maps to identify the location and expansion of New England colonies


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


  • banish
  • colonial charter
  • colony
  • compact
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Pilgrim
  • Puritan
  • region
  • settlement
  • theocracy


  • Copies of the quiz
  • Copies of the lesson
  • Other materials listed in activity

Video & Discussion

  • Preview vocabulary with students.
  • Pass out copies of The Puritans and the Founding of the New England Colonies to the students so that they can follow along and take notes while watching the video.
  • Watch the first part of the video. Pause at 1:30 to discuss the 'Pilgrims vs. Puritans' section.
    • Who settled Plymouth Colony?
    • Why did the Puritans come to America?
    • What colony was settled by the Puritans?
  • Continue watching the video until 3:25. Pause to discuss the 'Massachusetts Bay Colony' section.
    • Who was Governor John Winthrop?
    • Describe Puritan beliefs.
    • How is a theocracy different from a democracy?
  • Watch the video to 6:00. Discuss the 'Rhode Island' section with students.
    • Who was Roger Williams?
    • Who was Anne Hutchinson?
  • Watch the remainder of the video. Discuss the 'Expansion and Conflict' section.
    • Who was Thomas Hooker?
    • Describe the Pequot War.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner. Each student in the pair will summarize the lesson.
  • Pass out the printable worksheet.
  • Have students complete the worksheet independently to check for understanding. Grade as a class and discuss answers.

New England Colonies Travel Brochures

Materials needed: copies of lesson, chart paper, markers, portraits of Governor John Winthrop, Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and Thomas Hooker, access to computer/internet/printer

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